Wealthy Donors Want A Debate, Not Kamala

[Office of the Attorney General of California, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

With Democrats potentially needing to replace an unpopular president with an equally unpopular vice president, some liberal business leaders advocate for a more open process to select the replacement.

Bill Harris, a former CEO of Intuit and PayPal, announced that he is spearheading a small coalition of Democratic donors who have committed $2 million to support presidential debates among potential candidates if President Biden decides not to run for reelection. The push aims to ensure a robust debate process for selecting the president’s replacement.

The Washington Post reports that a group of Democratic megadonors is doing all it can to prevent Kamala Harris from simply being handed the nomination.

The group of donors is pressing for an open competition for the Democratic nomination that would draw public attention if Biden drops out. The group is looking for robust debates rather than merely coalescing around Vice President Harris or another nominee, according to Bill Harris, who declined to name the other donors.

Bill Harris described the vice president — a likely front-runner to replace Biden if he bows out — as “a very strong candidate.” But he and the other donors financing the effort favor a “mini-primary” similar to what Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) outlined Wednesday. (A Clyburn spokeswoman later said that he was speaking hypothetically and that he supported Biden’s reelection. Clyburn also told MSNBC on Tuesday that he would support the vice president if Biden exits the race.)

Some Democrats have voiced concern about the chaos that might ensue if Biden exits the race, leaving the party without a nominee four months before Election Day. But Bill Harris said Democrats need some excitement to engage voters in a race that many of them had tuned out, at least before Biden’s weak debate last week with former president Donald Trump.

“It’s not that we have to protect ourselves from chaos and drama,” Harris said. “We need drama and a little chaos. I think it can be refreshing and energizing.”

Bill Harris gave $620,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in 2020. The wealthy donor, however, has not yet donated to Biden’s 2024 campaign, giving to congressional candidates instead, according to The Daily Caller. Since the CNN debate, Wall Street donors have reportedly been fleeing the Biden campaign in droves, moving to Trump despite his policies helping workers rather than businesses.

Harris isn’t the only prominent Democrat worried about handing the nomination to Kamala. A prominent member of the Democratic National Committee has developed a strategy to prevent the vice president from claiming the nomination at the convention if Biden were to bow out.

Biden has insisted that he’s not going anywhere.

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